Biometric ticketing part of future plan for Britain’s rail network

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Biometric ticketing is one of several innovations identified by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) in its digital blueprint for Britain’s railway.

The blueprint, which has been published on the same day as the RDG annual conference, suggests that Bluetooth and biometric ticketing could eventually replace the magnetic strip tickets that have been around since the 1980s.

RDG pointed to the development of a mobile app that uses Bluetooth to automatically open ticket barrier gates. This technology is being trialled by Chiltern Railways between Oxford Parkway and London Marylebone this year.

A further development of ticketing technology could see biometric systems, which use fingerprints and eye scanning, implemented.

Dubbed the Capability Delivery Plan (CDP), the blueprint is made up of more than 200 projects which explore the application of new technology to improve passenger rail travel.

Projects include new seating designs and the development of ‘intelligent’ trains that utilise digital signalling technology to improve the flow of traffic around the network.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the RDG, said: “Our railway is increasingly full and while the industry is taking action to address the challenges of today, working together to deliver the £50 billion plus Railway Upgrade Plan, we also need to be looking at the solutions of tomorrow.

“This blueprint sets out how we can harness digital technology to make journeys better for passengers and freight customers on a railway that’s simpler and easier to use.”

He added: “The Capability Delivery Plan is an important step in ensuring that the whole railway and its supply chain collaborates efficiently and effectively to deliver the digital railway’s wide-ranging benefits, including better services for customers, more and better jobs for our people, and better value for taxpayers.”

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